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Max Scherzer strikes out 10 and Dodgers defeat Astros 7-5

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Max Scherzer reacts after closing out the Astros in the seventh inning.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Max Scherzer has an impressive Dodger debut and Mookie Betts homers twice as team splits series with the Astros.

The Dodgers split series with Astros and hold off late rally for a 7-5 victory.

Dodgers defeat Astros, 7-5

Astros: Right-hander Kenley Jansen now pitching for the Dodgers. Diaz singled to left. Tucker homered to right. It’s 7-5 Dodgers. Garcia struck out swinging. Castro struck out swinging. Jake Meyers, batting for the pitcher, struck out swinging.

Final score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

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It’s 7-3 Dodgers after eight

Astros: Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Altuve struck out swinging. Brantley struck out looking. Correa homered to left. This came a couple of pitches after a Dodger fan interfered with Bellinger catching a foul ball down the right-field line. Nice job fan. Nice job. Alvarez flied to left.

Dodgers: Right-hander Phil Maton now pitching for the Astros. Taylor flied to left. Pollock singled to right. Bellinger was hit by a pitch. Matt Beaty, batting for Kelly, lined to left. Betts lined to center.

Score after eight: Dodgers 7, Astros 3

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Max Scherzer strikes out 10 in his Dodgers debut, leads 7-2

Astros: Tucker walked on six pitches. Garcia flied to center. Tucker stole second. Castro struck out looking. Chas McCormick, batting for the pitcher, struck out swinging. Ten strikeouts for Scherzer. Jumbo Jacks throughout the land!

Dodgers: Left-hander Brooks Raley now pitching for the Astros: Muncy struck out looking. Turner grounded to short. Seager singled off the pitcher’s glove. Smith grounded to third.

Score after seven: Dodgers 7, Astros 2

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Can Dodger fans forgive the Astros?

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Still 7-2 Dodgers after six

Astros: Brantley singled to center. Correa struck out swinging. Alvarez flied to left. Diaz popped to short.

Dodgers: Bellinger popped to first. Scherzer struck out swinging. Betts flied to center.

Score after six: Dodgers 7, Astros 2

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Dodgers lead 7-2 after five innings

Astros: Castro grounded to first. Lance McCullers Jr. (yes the pitcher), hitting for Garcia, struck out swinging. Altuve struck out swinging.

Dodgers: Right-hander Rafael Montero now pitching for the Astros. Seager doubled to right-center. Smith walked on five pitches. Taylor grounded to the pitcher, forcing Seager at third. Pollock grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Score after five: Dodgers 7, Astros 2

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It’s 7-2 Dodgers after four innings

Astros: Correa grounded to third. Alvarez singled to left. Diaz grounded to short, Alvarez to second. Tucker singled to center, scoring Alvarez with Tucker taking second on the throw home. Garcia flied to center.

Dodgers: Right-hander and former Dodger Yimi Garcia now pitching for the Astros. Betts fouled to the catcher. Muncy struck out swinging. Turner flied to center.

Score after four: Dodgers 7, Astros 2

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AJ Pollock’s homer gives Dodgers a 7-1 lead

Astros: Jake Odorizzi popped to short. Altuve struck out swinging. Brantley flied to right.

Dodgers: Seager grounded to short. Smith struck out swinging. Taylor walked on four pitches. Pollock homered to left, estimated at 406 feet. Bellinger doubled to left. Scherzer struck out swinging.

Score after three: Dodgers 7, Astros 1

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Betts’ second homer of game gives Dodgers a 5-1 lead

Astros: Kyle Tucker struck out swinging. Robel Garcia struck out swinging. Jason Castro flied to left.

Dodgers: Max Scherzer grounded to second. Betts homered to left, estimated at 373 feet. That’s his second of the game. Muncy flied to center. Turner flied to center.

Score after two: Dodgers 5, Astros 1

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Homers by Betts, Smith give Dodgers a 4-1 lead

Astros: Right-hander Max Scherzer pitching for the Dodgers. Jose Altuve struck out swinging. Michael Brantley homered to right. Carlos Correa singled to center. Yordan Alvarez flied to left, Correa to second. Aledmys Diaz struck out looking.

Dodgers: Right-hander Jake Odorizzi pitching for the Astros. Mookie Betts homered to center, estimated at 416 feet. Max Muncy walked on six pitches. Justin Turner struck out swinging. Corey Seager hit a roller to second. The throw took Correa off the bag, so everyone is safe. First and second, one out. Will Smith homered to right, estimated at 383 feet. It’s 4-1 Dodgers. Chris Taylor singled to right. Taylor took second on a wild pickoff throw. AJ Pollock grounded to short. Cody Bellinger popped to short.

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One man’s quest to brand the Houston Astros cheaters forever

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VIDEO | 03:13
One man’s quest to brand the Houston Astros cheaters forever

Tom Wilson loves baseball and feels the fans have to protect the sport. The “Astroisk” is less about the Dodgers and more about reminding people that the Houston Astros cheated to win the 2017 World Series. In fact, this isn’t the first time he created foam protest hands in the name of baseball.

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Max Scherzer to make Dodgers debut; Cody Bellinger dropped to eighth spot against Astros

Cody Bellinger hits a two-run home run off of the Cubs' Adbert Alzolay on June 27.
(Associated Press)

Max Scherzer, acquired with shortstop Trea Turner in last Friday’s blockbuster trade-deadline deal with the Washington Nationals, will make his Dodgers debut against the Houston Astros in Chavez Ravine on Wednesday night.

Mookie Betts will start at second base for the third straight game, and slumping outfielder Cody Bellinger will bat eighth for the first time in almost three years, as the Dodgers try to split the series after Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss.

The left-handed-hitting Bellinger is batting .165 with a .546 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, five homers and 21 RBIs in 49 games of this injury marred season. In 28 games since June 28, he is batting .117 (12 for 103) with a .390 OPS, two homers, seven RBIs, 32 strikeouts and nine walks.

He has been particularly ineffective against higher velocity, batting .131 in at-bats ending with fastballs. Bellinger, the 2019 National League most valuable player, hit .236 off fastballs last season.

The last time Bellinger, who underwent right-shoulder surgery last November and suffered a hairline fracture in his left tibia on April 6, hit eighth was Aug. 29, 2018.

“He’s been grinding,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s been a difficult time for him trying to perform at this level and trying to get that front shoulder strengthened. That first year out after surgery is tough. Cody is going through it.

“So for me, I’m going to continue to try to run him out there, give him confidence to get that swing right.”

If Bellinger doesn’t show some progress at the plate soon, he could lose playing time in center field to Trea Turner, who came up as an outfielder with the Nationals.

DODGERS LINEUP: 2B Mookie Betts, 1B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, SS Corey Seager, C Will Smith, CF Chris Taylor, LF AJ Pollock, RF Cody Bellinger, RHP Max Scherzer.

ASTROS LINEUP: 2B Jose Altuve, RF Michael Brantley, SS Carlos Correa, LF Yordan Alvarez, 1B Aledmys Diaz, CF Kyle Tucker, 3B Robel Garcia, C Jason Castro, RHP Jake Odorizzi.

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Cheated of the World Series — and now of sweet revenge

Fans boo as Houston Astros' Jose Altuve bats during the first inning.
Dodger Fans boo as Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve bats during the first inning.
(Associated Press)

They screamed, “Cheaters! Cheaters! Cheaters!” nonstop for hours, flushing out four years of frustration, wailing their anger deep into the night.

The cheaters didn’t flinch.

They tossed inflatable trash cans onto the field, irresponsibly littered the grass with the cheaters’ foul balls and balls from batting practice home runs, waved their shaking fists and bared their wounded hearts.

The cheaters weren’t rattled.

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Dodgers sign Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels with the Atlanta Braves in 2020.
(Associated Press)

The Dodgers have agreed to terms on a one-year, $1-million major league contract with free-agent pitcher Cole Hamels, a low-risk investment in a veteran left-hander who could provide rotation depth if Clayton Kershaw is slow to recover from a sore elbow.

The deal, which includes bonuses of $200,000 per start, was confirmed Wednesday by a person familiar with negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly about them. Hamels, according to the source, will report to the team’s spring training complex in Arizona to build up his arm strength before joining the Dodgers.

Hamels, 37, was limited by shoulder inflammation and fatigue to only one game for Atlanta in 2020 after signing a one-year, $18-million deal with the Braves. But the four-time All-Star began throwing earlier this year and impressed scouts during a July 16 workout in Frisco, Texas, where his fastball touched 90 mph.

The San Diego native has a 163-122 career record and 3.43 ERA in 15 big-league seasons, 13 of them with the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers. He went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 27 starts for the Chicago Cubs in 2019, striking out 143 and walking 56 in 141 2/3 innings.

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Dodger fans let Astros know how they feel

The voice of Lance Lucchesi boomed throughout the section of Dodger Stadium far down the left-field line that once upon a time was called Mannywood for then-Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez.

“Cheaters,” Lucchesi screamed at the visiting Houston Astros. “Cheaters, all of you.”

Lucchesi plopped into his seat after the outburst. He knew full well that only four players on the Astros active roster played in their 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers, but he’d gotten something out of his system that festered for nearly two years.

A Dodgers fan since childhood, “back to the days of Russell, Cey and Garvey,” Lucchesi recalled how he felt when it was revealed in November 2019 the Astros had cheated in 2017 and 2018 by stealing signs on video and conveying them to hitters by banging on a trash can.

“I was almost to the point where it didn’t make me angry, it made me numb,” he said. “It made sense, how they seemed to know every pitch Yu Darvish threw, how they hit [Clayton] Kershaw.

“But it was a hard pill to swallow. How was it possible?”

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Astros quiet Dodgers and their fans, 3-0

Wrestlemania features a rowdy crowd, designated villains and scripted action. Astromania debuted at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, with a rowdy crowd, designated villains and unscripted action. The evening was real, and it was spectacular.

Two years of fan frustration erupted in explosions of seriously sustained boos, inflatable trash cans and chants of “Cheat-ers!” The Houston Astros, playing before Dodger Stadium fans for the first time since Major League Baseball condemned them as cheaters in the year they beat the Dodgers in the World Series, were treated as if they were outcasts in a public square.

Great theater, and great teams too. Perhaps they will meet again here, in this year’s World Series.

Can you imagine? It’s easy: The team with the best run differential in the National League is the Dodgers. The team with the best run differential in the American League is the Astros.

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Astros take 3-0 lead in the eighth

Astros: Left-hander Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Brantley grounded to second. Correa walked. Alvarez homered to right. Diaz struck out swinging. Tucker popped to short.

Dodgers: Meyers in center. Tucker to right. McCormick in left. Right-hander Kendall Graveman now pitching for the Astros. Turner singled to right. Seager struck out swinging. Smith was hit by a pitch. Taylor grounded to second, forcing Smith. First and third, two out. Bellinger struck out looking.

Score after eight: Astros 3, Dodgers 0

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Dodgers strand two in the seventh, trail 1-0

Astros: Right-hander Blake Treinen now pitching for the Dodgers. Maldonado grounded to third. Altuve singled to right-center. Altuve was picked off first to the delight of the crowd.

Dodgers: Bellinger flied to center. Pollock singled off of McCullers’ left ankle. The ball ricocheted to the third baseman who threw it away for an error. Single and an error on that play. Matt Beaty, batting for Treinen, struck out swinging. Betts walked on seven pitches. And that’s it for McCullers. Left-hander Blake Taylor is now pitching. Muncy struck out swinging.

Score after seven: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

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Astros lead 1-0 after six

Astros: Alvarez lined to center. Diaz fouled to first. Tucker walked on seven pitches. Garcia popped to short.

Dodgers: Seager grounded to short. Smith struck out swinging. Taylor flied to left.

Score after six: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

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Astros still lead 1-0 after five

Astros: Altuve struck out looking. Brantley lined to second. Betts, playing second but position in shallow right-center, made a terrific diving catch. Correa struck out swinging.

Dodgers: Buehler singled to center. Betts struck out looking. Muncy flied to left. Turner struck out swinging.

Score after five: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

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It’s 1-0 Astros after four

Astros: Alvarez struck out looking. Diaz singled to center. Tucker walked on five pitches. Diaz grounded to first, runners moving up. Maldonado was walked intentionally. McCullers grounded to first.

Dodgers: Seager grounded to short. Smith walked on five pitches. Taylor grounded to short. Correa made a bad toss to second and everybody is safe. E6. First and second, one out. Bellinger flied to center. Pollock flied to right.

Score after four: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

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Astros take 1-0 lead

Astros: Martin Maldonado doubled to right-center. Lance McCullers Jr. struck out swinging. Altuve, greeted by loud boos again, lined to left. Brantley doubled to right, scoring Maldonado. A trash can and a ball have been thrown on the field this inning. An announcement made asking fans not to do that was booed lustily. Correa grounded to first.

Dodgers: Betts flied to center. Muncy struck out looking at a pitch that was off the plate. Turner struck out swinging.

Score after three: Astros 1, Dodgers 0

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No score after two innings

Astros: Former Dodger Yordan Alvarez flied to left. Almedys Diaz flied to right. Kyle Tucker doubled down the left-field line. Robel Garcia flied to center.

Dodgers: Chris Taylor struck out swinging. Cody Bellinger singled against the shift. AJ Pollock grounded to second, Bellinger to second. Walker Buehler grounded to the pitcher.

Score after two: Dodgers 0, Astros 0

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Astros go down in order in top of first as crowd boos loudly

Astros: Right-hander Walker Buehler pitching for the Dodgers. Jose Altuve singled to center. Michael Brantley grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Carlos Correa struck out swinging. The booing from the crowd is the loudest I have have ever heard it, and it was sustained through the entire top of the first.

Dodgers: Right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. on the mound for the Astros. Mookie Betts singled to left. Max Muncy struck out swinging. Justin Turner flied to right. While Corey Seager was batting, someone threw a trash can onto the field from the bleachers in right. The crowd loved it. Seager walked on five pitches. First and second, two out. Will Smith struck out looking.

Score after one: Dodgers 0, Astros 0

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Dodgers beef up security for series against Astros

No surprise here: The Dodgers increased security for the two-game series against the Astros.

More than 30 black-clad security guards gathered for a meeting behind home plate on the field level concourse about two hours before the first pitch.

They were reminded to be proactive and recognize potential problems before they escalate.

Security at the entry points was “extra vigilant,” according to a Dodgers official, with guards doing their best to make sure nobody brought anything into the stadium that could be harmful.

Boos cascaded into chants of “cheaters!” when Jose Altuve walked to the plate to lead off the game. Altuve singled to quiet the crowd, that then cheered in unison when Michael Brantley hit into a double play moments later.

Then Walker Buehler struck out Carlos Correa to end the inning, prompting a boisterous standing ovation.

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Dave Roberts talks about the Astros series

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Odd sight: Dodgers president Stan Kasten chats with Astros pitcher Zack Greinke during BP

Left field was hostile territory during Astros batting practice ahead of Tuesday’s game. Some fans tossed home run balls back onto the field to loud cheers. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa stepping into the batting cage was met with a chorus of boos.

Yet in an odd twist, Dodgers president Stan Kasten quietly entered the field from the center field gate, turned right and walked along the warning track in left field while baseballs and boos rained all around him.

He stopped in front of the Dodgers bullpen and struck up a conversation with Astros pitcher and former Dodger Zack Grienke, who was shagging fly balls. They had a friendly chat, then Kasten continued his stroll all the way to the Dodgers dugout.

Not that the fans seemed to notice. They were too occupied with booing and keeping their heads up when baseballs sailed their way.

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A smattering of Astros fans brave Dodger Stadium full of angry fans

Amid an angry sea of Dodgers blue, the extremely few fans wearing Houston Astros orange, navy and white stood out.

Entering the stadium on the left field side of the field level Tuesday were three Houston men wearing Astros-tinged shirts and caps. One wore the iconic No. 34 jersey of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.

They were on vacation, having attended the three Astros games in San Francisco over the weekend and were looking forward to two games at Dodger Stadium.

They didn’t quite grasp the level an animosity they might be subjected to.

“We are fans, and that’s it,” said Kris Garcia, 43, whose T-shirt sported a map of Texas.

Any discussion of leaving the Astros gear in the hotel room and attending the game incognito?

“No, no,” Garcia said. “We wear our gear no matter what. In San Francisco it was no problem.”

Of course, the Giants don’t believe they were cheated out of a World Series title. And they are the Dodgers’ longtime rivals.

Many Dodgers fans expressed their displeasure with imaginative T-shirts. One had Oscar the Grouch peeking out of his trash can home, the trash can a reminder of the its role in the Astros’ illegally communicating signs to hitters.

And there were T-shirts that read “Houston Trashstros” or were simply emblazoned with “Cheaters!” set over the Astros’ star logo.

A second group of Astros fans entered the stadium, two young couples from Texas who flew to Los Angeles to attend the games Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We aren’t expecting any problems, we just want to have a good time and we love the Astros,” said Jose Parker.

Haley Wood was also in Parker’s group. She said that while shopping Tuesday in L.A., they were warned to be careful.

“Our family members and friends also gave us warnings,” she said.

But like Garcia’s group, they didn’t consider attending the game without Astros gear.

“Never considered it,” Parker said.

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And (boo) here come the (cheaters) Astros

Mookie Betts starts at second base again for the Dodgers.
(Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ fans were anxious for the arrival of the Houston Astros, swarming into Dodger Stadium as soon as the gates opened. The fans serenaded the Astros during batting practice with chants of “Cheaters!” They threw back home run balls the Astros hit. They jeered Jose Altuve with passion, and sometimes with expletives, as he stepped into the batting cage.

This is the first time the Astros have visited Dodger Stadium — with fans in attendance — since Major League Baseball found them guilty of cheating in 2017, the year the Astros beat the Dodgers in the World Series.

Dave Roberts, the Dodgers’ manager, said he understood that Tuesday’s game would represent a civic catharsis, and perhaps closure, for fans.

“I just want to encourage safety,” Roberts said.

Of the players in the Game 7 lineups for the 2017 World Series, four apiece were in Tuesday’s starting lineups: Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner for the Dodgers; Altuve, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel and Lance McCullers for the Astros.

The Dodgers’ lineup included Mookie Betts at second base for the second consecutive game. Roberts said Betts (hip irritation) had come up “a little sore” after Sunday’s game, so the team decided another day out of the outfield would be best, so as to limit his running.

With Betts at second, the Dodgers played Taylor in center field and Bellinger in right. Whatever the defensive position, the lineup was the first since April 5 to include Betts, Bellinger, Seager, Turner and Max Muncy.

“Our best baseball is ahead of us,” Roberts said.

The lineup:

Mookie Betts, 2b
Max Muncy, 1b
Justin Turner, 3b
Corey Seager, ss
Will Smith, c
Chris Taylor, cf
Cody Bellinger, rf
AJ Pollock, lf
Walker Buehler, p

The Dodgers recalled pitcher Brusdar Graterol and outfielder Zach Reks, returned pitcher Yefry Ramirez to triple-A Oklahoma City, and put pitcher Edwin Uceta (back strain) on the 10-day injured list.

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Max Scherzer wants to help put the Dodgers in first place

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer
(Associated Press)

The Dodgers are the defending World Series champions. They were the favorites to win the National League West from Day 1 of spring training, according to Las Vegas odds and sabermetric projections, and they remain the favorites today.

On his first day as a member of the home team at Dodger Stadium, then, it was little wonder that Max Scherzer got caught up in the local and national wave of expectations and assumptions.

“The Dodgers are in first place,” Scherzer said Tuesday in his introductory Zoom conference, “but there’s work to be done, and that’s why I’m excited to be here, to go out there and try to win.”

In fact, the Dodgers have not been in first place since April 28. As Scherzer spoke, the Dodgers trailed the San Francisco Giants by 3½ games, their largest deficit since June 27.

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Boo and heckle, but please be safe

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Watch: Fans arrive at Dodger Stadium with the memory of Astros cheating scandal in mind

Follow Steve Saldivar’s thread for more fan reactions before the game:

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Watch: Tom Wilson explains why he created “Astroisk”

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Dodger fans get to voice their anger at the Astros, finally

There were so many Dodgers fans in Phoenix over the weekend that chants of “Cheater! Cheater!” could be heard clearly in Chase Field every time Josh Reddick, the Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder who played for Houston’s sign-stealing, World Series-winning team in 2017, came to the plate.

That was merely an appetizer for the main dish of disdain the Astros will be served Tuesday and Wednesday, when some 50,000 fans in Chavez Ravine each night will finally get to voice their full-throated scorn for the team they believe stole a championship from the Dodgers almost four years ago.

“Our fans have waited a long time to have these guys at our place,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Sunday’s 13-0 win over the Diamondbacks. “And we’ll leave it at that.”

The Dodgers and Astros have met three times since Houston’s cheating scandal came to light after the 2019 season, playing two-game sets in Houston in July 2020 and Los Angeles last September and two games in Houston this May. Houston also beat Oakland in an American League Division Series played in Dodger Stadium last October.

But fans weren’t allowed to attend any of the 2020 games because of the pandemic, and this season’s games were played in Minute Maid Park. Tuesday night will mark the first time fans in Los Angeles will be able to gather en masse to vent their frustrations.

“I haven’t been to a game since the COVID-19 lockdown, but this is the series to be at, and I’ll be attending both games,” Desiree Angel Garcia, a 37-year-old Dodgers fan from Los Angeles, wrote in a text-message. “I think you’ll have a mix of people just wanting to see the Dodgers shut them out and those who are going to boo and give them hell the whole game.”

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